Thursday 20 December 2018

FlashFlood Advent Calendar 2018: Day 20

Day 20:I Second (Guess) That Emotion

Tears stream down my face.  I wring my hands.  My heart pounds, races, flutters, and skips a beat.  I bite my lip and break out into a cold sweat.

What could possibly be happening?  Could it a dramatic moment in a story?  Or is it an allergic reaction to common word pairings?

If you guessed the latter, this prompt is for you....


Step 1.

Pick a mood or emotional state that you'd like to write about.  This could be fear, anxiety, love, arousal, boredom...anything where you can imagine a character's physical response.

Step 2.

Put on a timer for five minutes or so and jot down all the common physical manifestations you can think of for that mood.  What is your character doing and feeling?  What is their body doing that is beyond their control?  What might they be doing deliberately?  What are they doing unconsciously?

Embrace cliché!  Seek out and celebrate all those common word pairings!  For fear, you might end up with something like the first paragraph, for example.  Let fingers tap, nostrils flare, skin flush and eyes widen.  Palms can be sweaty; tears can sting before they roll down cheeks. 

Step 3.

Now write a scene or story featuring that mood or emotional state without using any of the words or phrases on your list.  Spend some time describing your characters' physical responses using fresh words, ideas, descriptions and imagery.

For an extra challenge, try to gracefully weave in a few common word pairings...that would commonly be used to describe an emotion completely different from the one you're trying to portray.  Can you make a case in your story for, say, an angry character's smile softening; a character's eyes flashing with exhaustion? a character's lips pursing as a sign of tranquility?

Save the date: NFFD has exciting things planned on 15 June 2019!  If you or a group or publication you know has a flashy event planned on or around this time, let us know and we'll promote your event on our National Flash Fiction Day Calendar, to be launched in the new year.


Find out more about National Flash Fiction Day at our website or get in touch if you'd like to learn more about how you can get involved.

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